Search advisory committee to interview presidential candidates this month


 A search advisory committee charged with finding the next president of Central Michigan University will begin to interview candidates this month, according to a June 6 press release.

All interviews will be conducted off campus. An email sent to Director of Communications Heather Smith asked her to clarify how many applicants will be interviewed. The university declined to provide that information in its release. 

On June 5, the search advisory committee met and reviewed more than 70 applications. Tricia Keith, who chairs the committee, said in the press release that committee members were “pleased by the quality, range of experience and diversity among candidates.”

After meeting with applicants, the search advisory committee will discuss candidates with the board of trustees. The full board of trustees will do its confidential interviews in July. George Ross will step down as president on July 31. Keith said the search remains on track for a new president to be announced by the end of July. 

A leadership profile describing CMU and what is expected from the president is available on the university’s website.  

The 34-page document is filled with photos and a narrative that highlights student and academic successes. The report doesn’t mention the expectations for the next president until page 25. 

Among the duties for the next president outlined by the search committee are “operationalize an updated strategic plan that defines and articulates a long-term vision,” to lead outreach and advocacy on behalf of the university, to “sharpen” the enrollment strategy, to help foster inclusion, diversity and civility on campus, and strengthen relationships with on-campus and off-campus constituents and alumni.

 The profile also states that the right candidate will be able to define and promote “a more distinctive identity” for the university.    

“As an extension of the strategic planning initiative, the president should spearhead a plan to ascribe more distinctiveness to CMU. The university must know exactly who it is and will be, what the premier programs and strengths are, what our state and national rankings are and will be,” the profile states. “And then, CMU must deliver bold excellence.”

It is noted in the profile that fundraising experience is critical. An estimated 20-25 percent of the president’s time will be spent on fundraising. Attractive candidates will have demonstrated both a talent and an enthusiasm for fundraising, including the personal and social skills to cultivate financial support. 

As far as professional qualifications are discussed, the profile states that a “Ph.D. or other terminal degree is preferred.” Extensive experience in academia is also not a requirement, however candidates should have a demonstrated record of "successful executive leadership and comparable credentials and/or experience sufficient to warrant the respect and confidence of the academic community."

Application materials required by the university were a letter addressing how the candidate’s experiences matched the position requirements, a current c.v. and contact information for at least five references.

The document goes on to detail personal attributes that the president of CMU should embody. Those personal attributes include:
• Academic Excellence  

• Executive Disposition 

• Effective Communicator

• Forward thinking and Behavior 

• Drive for Results 

• Valuing Diversity 

• Student Orientation 

• Visibility and Approachability 

• Personal values